Experts call on youth to invest in agriculture
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09 September 2016 Author :   David Njagi
Youth need to proactively engage in agriculture

Young people, who form the biggest part of population in Sub Saharan Africa, have little or no interest in agriculture, a sector that drives the region’s economy.

And now, experts at the Africa Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) 2016 have said that it will take more than financial persuasion to hook them into the sector.

“Even with donors promising subsidies to Africa’s youth in agriculture, the generation is faced with the twin problems of skills transfer and motivation,” said Ambrose Agona, the director general, National Research Organisation (NARO) of Uganda.

Other experts said that the absence of youth engagement in Africa’s agriculture is due to poor policies that do not cater for the interest of the youth.

“Governments must link scientists to what is happening in the industry and markets,” said Micheni Ntiba Kenya’s s principal secretary for Fisheries. “There is need to follow up research to ensure that it is incubated as a business because the youth will always want to go to where money is.”

Experts further observed that some scientists were working in silos.

Africa Harvest Biotechnology Foundation International chief executive officer, Florence Wambugu said pointed out that African scientists must interact with farmers to understand what kind of innovations Africa needs.

According to her, Africa may be doing well with a growth path of six per cent but failure to win the youth into agriculture will not help Africa fight poverty and climate change.

“Researchers must break the silos and work through value chains so as to attract the youth into the sector,” said Wambugu.

Meanwhile, a new report released during the AGRF meeting accuses financial institutions of failing the youth in terms of capital access.

According to the AGRA 2016 African Agriculture Status report, only 6 per cent of rural households in sub Saharan Africa are borrowing from formal financial institutions.

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